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Mariners win soccer season opener, 1-0

Mariners win soccer season opener, 1-0

THROGGS NECK, N.Y. – One of the most unique winning streaks in college soccer continued on Thursday night as the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy won after taking a boat ride to a game.

The Mariners extended their winning streak to five games when they travel by sea after taking a short ride from Kings Point, N.Y. to Throggs Neck, where they recorded a 1-0 non-conference victory over SUNY-Maritime in their season-opener.

Junior defender Hollis Irvine (Greenwich, N.J.) gave the Mariners all the scoring they needed, converting a swerving 25-yard free kick in the 20th minute past goalkeeper Michael Vanadia.

About 2 ½ hours prior to the kickoff, Irvine and his Kings Point teammates took a boat ride on two Academy vessels, "Growler" and "Sirina" to reach the game. The rare and short journey across the bay certainly did not hurt the Mariners, who dominated the encounter, but could not find the back of the net more than once.

The Mariners, ranked eighth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of American Division III pre-season poll, had several close encounters that just missed the mark or were stopped by Vanadia (nine saves).

Kings Point head coach Mike Smolens said he and his staff were "pleased with our start to the season and certainly feel we'll improve as the season goes on."

Combining a possession game with some stout defending, the Mariners made sure Maritime never threatened.

"Our defense was very solid and we were pleased with the way a number of less experienced players handled themselves in their first game situation," Smolens said.

The Mariners outshot the hosts, 19-6.

Kings Point sophomore goalkeeper Garrett Reinert (Houston, Texas) was called on to make only two saves.

The Mariners do not have much time to bask in the glory of their win as they host York College in their home opener at Tomb Stadium on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.